Saturday, January 22, 2022

Scrappy Saturday in Red

My Saturday is going to be very scrappy indeed! After I post this blog post to join Angela and the other Rainbow Scrapettes at Scrappy Saturday (come see all the delightful blocks and quilts at Angela’s So Scrappy blog), I’ll be heading off to a Quilts for Kids workshop. There we’ll spend three delightful hours stitching, gabbing and snacking. I’ve got eleven quilts to turn in! Naturally, we’ll be masked and socially distanced, but there is sure to be plenty of laughing and scrap sharing as well!

I was able, finally, to finish quilting the sailboat quilt that was giving my machine fits last week. First I had to rip out a lot of the quilting because of the poor tension. After a couple quick trips to the dealer to have them look at my machine, they adjusted the bobbin tension and that helped somewhat. It was still not what it should have been, but I got the quilt done. Then I trimmed and bound it. Here is this cutie pie quilt all finished.

It was quilted with swirls (what was I thinking?). The finished size is 42.5x50”.

Once I got past this quilt, my Bernina was back to purring along perfectly like her old self. The red scrap donation quilt was next.

With small loopy quilting, this finished up in no time at 42x45.5”. And finally I quilted the one I’m calling “red cats” because of the old maroon-red fabric in it. Sorta looks like the Nineties threw up all over it.  Actually, I love this little quilt!

And look at the wild backing! It was sent to me for QFK by my friend Sally.

It was good to get those three little quilts done early in the week so I could take them to the QFKids workshop today. Anyway, then it was time to get back to the red scraps.

I made two more elephant blocks, for a total of six this month.

And two Antique Tile blocks (12.5”, unfinished size)..

That’s all the finished blocks this week, but I’ve been working with my crumbs too. I divided them up into bright reds and maroons (cranberry, mahogany, etc). I made 12 crumb blocks of each color set measuring 6.5” each. They’ll be sewn into two placemats of each color, but that will be unveiled next week. I also made crumb tumblers and cut some regular fabric tumblers and will sew up the first two rows of a rainbow tumbler quilt. That, too, will be for next week. 

I still have a lot (a LOT) of red scraps and am debating as to whether or not I want to keep the Bear Paw blocks in my RSC lineup, or whether I want to spend next week working on a personal red quilt that I started last August, my Ribbons quilt. 

Maybe I can do both? HA! There’s also the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) that I (and many others) are participating in. The first round was given to us: curves. You can see all the wonderful progress here. This is my block, with the curves added in the form of drunkard’s path blocks on the top and bottom. I’m going to build this as a rectangular quilt.

So…. Decisions, decisions. But right now I’m deciding I’d better get my rear in gear and get going to the QFK workshop! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Adding Curves to the Round Robin Block

This week, our weekly hostess Anja called CURVES for the first round of our Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). As long as it was curved - free-form, Drunkard’s Path, orange peel shapes - it was “on the table”. Decisions, decisions!

I have the Quick Curves rulers (regular and mini) as well as a drunkard’s path die set for my Accuquilt cutter. I decided to go with the latter. 

Here is my center block, “before”

I added a little black border around it first. I needed to stabilize this old block and see if I could preserve the points (about 95% successful!). Then I added curves to the top and bottom only to begin the transformation to a rectangle shape. 

It measures about 14x20” at this point, which I’m worried is a bit large for this stage of the round robin. I may take out the top and bottom 1” strips between the center block and the curves. We’ll see. I definitely do need to get more Kona black. I’ll be continuing with bright greens, aquas, blues and maybe even purple - and I have plenty of those to choose from. 

Join is HERE to see everyone’s progress so far!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Red Delicious Scraps

January is red scraps month in the online Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Now that I’ve been working on them for a couple weeks, I feel as though I’m finally gaining some control over them. 

I did lose an entire afternoon of sewing on Thursday when we had our furnace guys out to do a tune-up. Between Bruce and them, we realized our humidifier wasn’t working (itchy skin in this dry winter climate is a clue), so we had a new one installed to replace the 25+-year old one. It took them over 3 hours and we were on-and off without heat or power. And the cats were, of course, deep in hiding. Anyway, it’s all good now, but ouch! That hurt the ol’ pocketbook. There was an extra zero at the end of what I had guessed it would cost. 

So I settled in to quilt the sailboat quilt on Friday, and my machine was giving me fits. It sounded like a clackety-clack bicycle with trading cards clothespinned to the spokes! I took it back to the dealer, and it worked just fine for them. Of course it did. Back at home, it was back to clacking (with poor tension on the quilt back), so I gave up about 70% of the way through. I’ve replaced the needle, cleaned and oiled the machine (even though I’ve only had it back for a couple weeks from its annual service), and tried to adjust the tension. Nothing helps. Tomorrow I’m going to get tough. I figure I can threaten to throw it outside or buy a replacement. That machine will be scared straight, I’m sure of it…..anyway… all that to say that the sailboat quilt isn’t finished yet. But there are other things to share.

The green string cats donation quilt finished at 42x48” and will go to - where else? - Quilts for Kids.  The backing used the last of the cat squares.

But I got lots of red sewing done too. First came the courthouse steps blocks in the bullseye setting that Angela, our RSC hostess, did a tutorial on. I had so many red strings that I made 10 blocks with a final red border and 10 with a final neutral border. I don’t intend to make that many every month, but I let the red scraps dictate the quantity this month.

Aren’t they fun? They measure 7.5” and will finish at 7” in a quilt. Next I worked on framing the four-patches I made last year (plus I added a few more to the mix). 

Again, the outer borders are alternated dark/light. These blocks will finish at 8”. 

Some of the red scraps I have are so cute!!

The following two photos are of little quilts in process. This first one is actually a top waiting to be pin basted. It’s all from the Quilts for Kids scrap stash (although the cat fabric may have been a friend donation - I can’t remember. 

The next one is just strips and blocks up on the design wall and needs to be sewn together. That will happen this week along with the quilting of these two and Sailboats. Fingers crossed that my machine will see the error of her ways and cooperate!

The Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) has started, and I’m joining in again this year. You can read about it on my last post, but I’ll show my starting block here. We’ll be building our quilts medallion-style around the centers.

Alfalfa and Darla have been ignoring their new huge scratching post, so I guess I’m going to have to buy some ‘nip and rub it on the sisal. But at least they each have their own heated beds now so they don’t have to argue about that. In fact, here’s a picture of them getting along very well - and not sleeping in their own beds. Because why would you when you can sleep in the humans’ bed?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

SAHRR - Stay at Home Round Robin

This year once again I’ll be participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin. What is a SAHRR? It’s a six-week challenge hosted by Gail at Quilting Gail in Canada. This week we are showing our center blocks, and for the next several weeks, a block or quilting unit (like triangles or flying geese) will be called. We get to just sew those units in the comfort of our homes and link up our weekly progress. I participated last year, had a ball, and ended up with a great quilt that I gifted at Christmas to a family member. 

In searching for a potential center block, I rejected the few orphan blocks I had because most of them were wonky or will best serve a purpose on the back of a quilt. We all know how that goes, right? Anyway, I have lots of blocks that were donated to me through Quilts for Kids.  I’m the scrap lady, but sometimes I get single blocks as well. This one intrigued me and didn’t go with any other blocks in my stash or donations.

I’ve been itching to work on a quilt with a black background, and this 12” block will make a great start. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to preserve all the points, but I’m not going to let a little thing like perfection stand in my way of a good time!

Come on over to visit our kick-off event to see the wide variety of styles and colors of the many participants! 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Starting Slowly

Well, we all made it to 2022. Bruce and I are just getting over (finally) our Christmas colds. Some days, naps just seemed like a good idea, even when there were plenty of things to do. Laundry and housework and errands had to wait. Even sewing was tabled for awhile. But eventually this week we got caught up and even got the Christmas decorations put away for another year. I finally feel as though I’ll be able to hit the ground running this weekend. 

Back in December I started playing with one of the fabrics I bought from Wanda at Exuberant Color in her pop-up shop last fall. I bought a lovely grouping of bright animal fabric remnants. Since most of these bright, bold remnants are about a half yard or less, I knew they’d need to be paired with other blocks. Naturally, my horde of string blocks came to mind. 

In hopes that maybe green would be called as the January RSC color, I started with a green fabric with aqua, orange and purple cats. The fabric was cut into 6.5” blocks to match the string blocks. First, I started with all greens. Before I got even half of them up on the design wall, I knew it was too overwhelmingly GREEN (and I love green....).  So I experimented with adding in some other colored string blocks to pick up the colors of the cats in the print. Much better. 

Here’s a close-up showing better detail of the fabric.

So anyway, this little flimsy is ready to be basted up for quilting. And obviously I was wrong in guessing January’s color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, which is red. So, once Angela announced it, I pulled out my red scraps.

Oh dear, I’m in trouble. I have So.Many.Red.Scraps. Just that pile of stacked squares under the scissors handle is enough to almost complete a full quilt. Then there are other squares of varying sizes, four-patches, orphan blocks, strips enough to circle the Earth and chunks and.... oy.  In addition, I have a couple projects for Quilts for Kids, more like self-made “kits” from similar scraps, that lean toward one certain color. Like last year, I’ll focus on finishing a couple of those as we visit each color. 

So the next thing I did was pull out a donated quilt kit, Sailing Sailing, that I had assigned to Red Month. The kit included the original instructions, and the donor’s fabric pull, plus one partially completed block. 

She had apparently decided to do away with the zig-zags under the boats, as she had a navy “ocean” print attached to her block. And the pinwheels had been scratched out too. Fine with me. I like fast and simple when it comes to kid quilts. This kit was originally for 12 blocks, but she had fabric enough for more, so I made 20.  Here is what I came up with.

Honestly, it’s just *looks* wonky hanging there, but I promise, it’s square!

The red vertical sashing and the checkered border were from my stash. See..... red! I’m calling it Sail Away, which is what I wish I could do. You know, warm weather, ocean breezes, umbrella’ed drinks while lounging on a beach..... *ahem*.  Back to the reality of snowy cold January in the Salt Lake Valley.

Sail Away is ready for basting, too, and I expect both these little quilts will be finished next week.  I’ll share all the details then. In the meantime, I was NOT enthusiastic about tackling that pile of red. I thought I had all my blocks planned out for RSC22, but I just wasn’t sure. And certainly there was going to be plenty more scraps to warrant an additional almost-all-red quilt or two. Or four. Ugh. But I’ll talk about those plans next week.

In the meantime, I was SURE that I was continuing with the elephant blocks (Stomping Ground by Wendy Shepard), so I pulled out large enough red chunks and got to work. The red floral elephant is my favorite so far.

The next two Ellies were pieced with some red scrap fabric that was part of the donation stuff. I loved it until I pressed the elephant blocks, and you can already see that it’s bleeding. (click to enlarge). These will be getting soaked with color catchers before and after being sewn into a quilt.

Four elephants down and more to go, depending on how many I feel like doing.  I could easily do another dozen, but I may save some of the larger chunks for other things. We’ll see how the month pans out. 

Some of my planned blocks for the RSC this year are Bear Paws in three sizes. This was my inspiration picture, from Wombat Quilts. Her quilt has four block sizes, but I'll probably omit the largest size.

And once Angela showed her bullseye setting for Courthouse Steps blocks, I knew that was the perfect solution to using many of the red strips (paired with low volume background strips) I have. I should get a quilts’-worth of blocks just from those. I’m taking a break from my usual 6.5” string blocks this year because I have hundreds to use up. And I will, dang it! But I may do a few Rectangle String blocks with a center contrast of black to see how I like those. I’ll try them in any color except red. 

I’ll also be doing Antique Tile blocks, framed four-patches (which may morph into Puss in the Corner blocks), crumb placemats, and tumblers. I have also set a goal to use the half-hexie blocks I made in 2020 (or was it earlier?) from selvages. Lots of those crumbs, tumblers, four-patches and half hexies may be incorporated into single-color quilts along the way. Again, it’s all rather up in the air. Sheesh, no wonder I feel overwhelmed. 

Where’s that Fairy Godmother when you need her?

Friday, December 31, 2021

Wrapping Up 2021

It’s time to wave goodbye to 2021. It seems this year flew by, but we always think that at year-end, don’t we? The deep winter here in the northern hemisphere allows us time to reflect during the year-end holidays. All in all, it’s been a pretty good year at the Kizerian Cottage. There are always ups (good health, family and friends, quilting and traveling) and downs (basement leaks/floods, the pandemic and politics). I’m so very grateful that we have another year to look forward to together. There are so many good things ahead! And did I mention cats? CATS! Our dear fur kids Alfie and Darla always liven up the time we spend at home. Yeah, cats are near the top of the Good Things category. 

This year I sewed a total of 68 quilts. That’s a lot, to be sure, but remember that most of them were kid-sized quilts for my favorite local charity, Quilts for Kids, Salt Lake Chapter. Those kid quilts usually measure 40-42” wide and under 50” long. I had my machine “Bernadette” (a Bernina 550QE) serviced this week, and the technician noted on the service notes that I had put on 2.8 million stitches this year! 

Looking back at the year, I can divide my quilts into those I made as donation quilts for Quilts for Kids, those I made for person use or gifting, and those I made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (which may have ended up as a personal or donation quilt). 

**** Donation Quilts ****

Here are five of my favorite (or your favorites, judging by comments) QFK quilts from this year

“Creamsicle”, Orange and Cream String Quilt, September
This was just a fun make and used up so many string scraps. I got into a groove and when I came to, the blocks were done, LOL!

Riverdance , July
Riverdance came about when I was gifted some navy and orange scraps. I already had some four-patches in those colors set aside and they all blended well. To set the blocks apart, I used white strips to make them “dance”, hence the name.

Stringing the Blues, July
It’s no secret that I love string blocks. But when I had more than enough in blue to make an entire quilt, I figured “why not?”

Bright Blocks, June
This was a fun challenge I set for myself. I had some multi-colored patches aging in my scrap stash (the middle patches), so I pulled limited-quantity scraps and strips that matched it in reds, blues and greens. Eventually, this is how it came together. It was a blast! Sorry it’s pinned up wonkily on the design board!

Seahorse With No Name, March 
This was inspired by the border fabric, picked up at an estate sale. I used a Kaffe Fasset fabric for the sea floor and a solid light green for the water. The seahorse is my interpretation of one similar that I saw online. For added interest I pieced a color-gradient reef and appliqu├ęd some “coral”. The water was given wavy line quilting.

**** Personal Quilts ****

My personal favorite quilts I made this year were:

Pinwheels (for Lauren)

Beachcomber (for Graham)

Zipperumpazoo (for Megan)

Stay at Home (for Kelly)

Ring Around the Roses (for me)

Ring Around the Roses was finished just a couple days ago. I made the blocks in January and February as I sewed along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The rose fabric is one that’s been in my stash probably 8-10 years, and I absolutely adore it. It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to finishing, and the wait was worth it.

Ring Around the Roses was quilted with a small vine-y loop. In the four corners I stitched a large rose motif, one of which you can see in the above picture. The quilt finished at 60x72” and I am enjoying it already!!

**Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) Finishes**

Top Row: Spring Stars, Waffles, Cats
Middle Row: Windmills I and II
Bottom Row: Beachcomber, Sampler

I still have two RSC quilts to finish from 2021’s blocks: Chips and Split Nines.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Our Christmas was spent at the home of my son Ryan and daughter-in-law Kim. The grandkids Lauren (and boyfriend Graham) and Easton were there, too, of course. Easton was home from the Navy in South Carolina for Christmas.

L-R: Bruce, Lauren, Cathy, Graham, Kim, Easton, Ryan

All of Kim’s family was there (except one brother and his son), but there were 23 of us all together. Everyone was vaccinated, and we took a Covid test upon arriving before joining the festivities. We had a great meal (everyone contributed), great conversation, lots of laughter, gift opening and lots of catching up.  (Bruce and I aren’t in this picture. I was photographer *cough*).

So, this week we’ve been having snowstorm after snowstorm (at least the snowblower is fixed!) and are staying home for New Year’s Eve. 

Thanks for joining me this year! Your support and comments and friendship have meant the world to me! I hope you’ll continue to drop by in 2022. I’ll be continuing with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Quilts for Kids among other things. 

May your New Year 2022 be healthy and happy!  (Oh! Dang it! Can you believe that our beloved Betty White died on December 30?!? Say it ain’t so!). 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Snow, Sew and Vegetate

What a fun week it was as the Christmas season began to bear down on us. We got the last of the shopping done on Monday, just ahead of the snowstorm this week. It snowed overnight Tuesday, and on Wednesday we woke up to a winter wonderland. There was over a foot on the valley floor where we live. The ski resorts were inundated and I’m pretty sure we could’ve heard the skiers rejoicing had we tried. 

Our neighbors pitched in to help us old folk shovel out. And some friends with a truck loaded up our (too large, in my opinion) snow blower and took it to the repair shop for us. It wouldn’t fit in our SUV, and we couldn’t have lifted it ourselves if it did. We have family members with a truck arranged to help us get it back when it’s been serviced. In the meantime,  I’ve kept the walkways shoveled and de-iced as we get skiffs and flurries. It’s exhilarating to be outside in snow and moving the ol’ body! Is it sick and wrong to enjoy snow shoveling? 

I went light on the sewing this week. Usually I spend several hours a day, but we had Other Important Things this week, like dentist appointments (semi-annual cleaning and all is well), going out for lunch, making a trip to the liquor store, walking in the snow and watching Christmas movies. I’ve also been trying to learn some advanced strategies for solving extreme Sudoku puzzles (on You Tube) with some success. Not much, but some. I go on Sudoku binges every few months….

But let me show you what I did sew. Inspired by my friend Julierose, I made a JOY table runner. I cut all the pieces several weeks ago, so it was quick work to assemble it. Actually, it can be either a table runner or a banner.

My goal this season has been to use up as many of my old Christmas scraps as possible. To that end I’ve already made two kitty quilts, a pair of pillowcases, my Christmas Presents quilt shown last week, and now this JOY table runner of scrap squares and yardage. 

JOY finished at 14x36”. The quilting is snowy-looking spirals. I added a hanging sleeve in case I want to hang it, but for now it will be a table runner. And see the Father Christmas in the picture? That was painted by Cousin Carrie (Kim’s sister) last year as a Christmas gift to us. I love it! Carrie selected the Father Christmas with all the wild animals for me as a nod to my Kenya trip back in 2018. Didn’t she do an amazing job? I keep him out almost all year. 

When I finished the JOY topper, I decided it was time to get a year-end chore done. Time to tackle the mountain of batting scraps and pieces. So I put on some lively Christmas music and spent an afternoon making Frankenbatting. I had some good-sized chunks and lots of strips. If it’s over 6” wide I save it. Skinnier strips and scraps to to a friend who makes pet beds. Some batting scraps are set aside and stored for things like table toppers, placemats, kitty quilts or zip pouches. But I had enough “ingredients” to make seven quilt-sized Frankenbatts!

My preferred method of making Frankenbatts is just to trim edges, butt them up and sew together with a short and wide zig-zag. I do have the heat-bonding strips, but they’re more of a pain. However, I keep a roll on hand just in case. (… in case of what, I’m not exactly sure). Anyway, once they were all sewn, I measured and labeled each one so they’re ready to go for the new year!

My final project of the year will be to finish up this Ring Around the Roses quilt for myself. I made the 10” blocks back in January and February, when the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors were pink and yellow, respectively. I’m finally getting back to them now. The first plan was to just sew them together without sashing, like this. 

But I felt it needed and deserved more, and the blocks really needed some separation. An inner white stop border and an outer larger border of pink/yellow Moda Grunge fabric were already planned, but I felt that some narrow sashing and cornerstones would be sharp. 

Yep, much better! That’s as far as I have it now, although the border fabrics are all cut and ready to add. 

And since my daughter Megan claimed my last zipper quilt, I’m making another one for us. This week I sewed a couple dozen blocks or so, just a few here and there as the mood struck. Here are some of them from this week.

That wraps it up for today. We are planning a quiet week, hopefully doing nothing more than visiting a friend and exchanging neighborhood gifts. We’ll be spending Christmas Day with my son Ryan, DDIL Kim and her side of the family. I don’t yet have my food assignment, so I will need to make another grocery run before the big day. Plus, I’m feeling the need to bake some almond biscotti to enjoy in my coffee share with friends and neighbors. *wink*